The Loss of Drover VH-DHA

This story concerning the loss of DCA Drover VH-DHA originally appeared in DCA publication
Interavia Notes for June 1952. Interavia Notes was prepared by DCA Public Relations Officer Doug Gillison.

Lae Airport Manager Tom Drury, flying as a passenger in a DCA DH 'Drover' saved the lives of the pilot and another passenger following a freak accident. Captain C R (Clarrie) Hibbert (Acting Regional Director of Papua-New Guinea) was flying a departmental 'Drover' aircraft from Wewak to Momote on 16th April. Part of a propeller blade on the port engine flew off and penetrated the cockpit, knocking the pilot unconscious and smashing his left foot. The aircraft was flying from Wewak to Manus Island and the accident happened when it was ninety miles from its destination. Drury suceeded in dragging Hibbert from his seat and in levelling out the aircraft and ditching it. With the other passenger's help he got Hibbert into the rubber dinghy and, using its 'Gibson Girl' emergency beacon, attracted a Qantas DC-3 which, in turn, led an RAAF crash launch to rescue the three men who had then been adrift for ten hours. The 'Drover' sank in deep water and was a total loss. Consequently, Hibbert was awarded a George Medal, and Drury a Civil Commendation for Valuable Services.


VH-DHA in flight during its test programme with the manufacturer in 1948.

(Photo: Geoff Goodall collection)

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